What if a homeless, smelly, ugly, unkempt old man had a hug so powerful it could cure cancer? Cause a prostitute to stop hooking and seek true love? Shake the demons of addiction free from a junkie? Make a radical terrorist Muslim want to befriend and love a Christian and visa versa? But rare is the beneficiary of his divine embrace – nobody wants to come near him out of fear.
Prologue – Part One
In a dim, small room with no walls was a lit candle, its tiny flame flickering. On a sturdy wooden table it sat, perched in its pewter holder like a glimmering, waxed, miniature monolithic Cyclops. One sat on one side of the table, Eye sat on the other. Shadows were cast in all directions, but appeared nowhere around this boundless microcosm.
One said, “You sure you want to do this?”
One knows everything, right? So Eye said, “No doubt.”
One said, “Incarnation hurts. There is carnal pleasure, yes, but there will be pain. The whole trip, and especially the exodus, most cases.”
Eye knew that. “Tell me some thing Eye does not know.”
One said, “There is no thing you do not know.”
“Then why does Eye not see all of It?”
“Because your focus has been upon your self.”
“Get out of here.”
“No, you get out of here … if that’s what you desire. Have your self a good look around.”
One laughed and disappeared.
Eye went to Terra.
Prologue - Part Two
Ali raised his rifle to shoot. As he was about to pull the trigger, he heard a voice from behind.
Ali whirled round and saw The Old Man, sitting cross-legged on the floor, his hands clasped together in a prayerful pose of petition. He glared at The Old Man and said, “What is this? Who are you and how did you get in here?”
The Old Man wagged his hand in the air. “That is of no significance. I am here to ask to take this man’s place. Please—kill me instead.”
Ali regarded The Old Man for a moment. He lowered his rifle. “And why … why should I do this?”
The Old Man shrugged, raised an open palm and nodded toward the rifleman’s captive Christian. “He is a young man, his entire life ahead of him, and has done nothing to deserve such a fate. I am old, and have lived my long life to the fullest. In the Qur’an it says to kill an innocent being is to kill the entire human race. He is innocent, a good man. I, my friend, have made many mistakes, committed many sins in my life. It would be best, for all concerned, if you were to shoot me for your cause rather than him.”
Ali looked deep into The Old Man’s eyes, clucked his tongue and gave a slow nod. “Very well. You are a brave man. If you wish, I will honor you with a final request before I take your life. Do you have one?”
The Old Man paused, then smiled. “Yes. Just one.”
“And that is?”
“I can ask anything of you?”
Ali looked down and checked his rifle absently, fiddled with the chamber. “Anything within reason, old man, other than sparing both yours and this other man’s life.” He looked back up at The Old Man. “So—out with it. What is your last wish?”
Marvin D Wilson is the author of three previous books, I Romanced the stone (Memoirs of a Recovering Hippie), Owen Fiddler, and Between the Storm and the Rainbow. Marvin, known in the world of Bloggydom as “The Old Silly, has a popular blog, The Old Silly’s Free Spirit Blog, at http://theoldsilly.com. Marvin is an editor with All Things That Matter Press and also does freelance editing.